Thursday, May 31, 2012

So Fresh

If you're not a fan of lipstick, but like a little color without the stickiness of a gloss, then the Sugar Lip Treatment from Fresh is for you. 

I first saw it in the Birchbox Shop in the color Rose.  Thinking $22.50 was a bit high for a lip balm I quickly wrote it off.  Not long after, BB put a deluxe sample size version in their box, and after seeing how many people were hoping it would show up in their box I thought twice about the price.

I ended up ordering the Plum color with my anniversary 20% off code, and I'm so glad I did!  The description from fresh is an ultra-nourishing tinted lip treatment that moisturizes, protects, and smoothes the lips while leaving a vibrant yet sheer rouge tint.  Let me tell you, it does exactly what it says.  Not to mention it smells great and has SPF 15.  Birchbox only carries these two colors, but I've seen it in honey, passion, coral, and clear at Sephora.  Oh, and are you a Sephora Beauty Insider?  If not, sign up now.  On your birthday you'll get a complimentary Fresh Sugar Rose Treatment!

Were you lucky enough to get a Fresh Sugar Rose in your Birchbox ?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


This has nothing to do with beauty products, but I thought I'd share my excitement from my shopping trip to Homegoods over the weekend.  If you've never been to Homegoods before, it's owned by TJ Max and Marshall's, but it's strictly products for the home. 

Now, I don't shop at Marshall's or TJ Max.  I don't have any problem with discount shopping, but their clothing sections always seem so chaotic.  I'm not a big fan of clothes shopping as it is, so the last thing I want is chaos added to it.  However, when it comes to items for my house, I'll dig for hours.  This was my first trip there, the closest one to me is about 45 minutes away.  I invited my sister in law to come along, it's usually tough to get her out of the house on the weekends, but she jumped at the chance to go, so I knew this would be worth the drive. 

The store is separated into sections, kitchen, bed/bath, wall art, furniture, accents, outdoors, lighting and mirrors.  For as much stock as they had, I'd say it wasn't as chaotic as I would've thought, especially since the store itself isn't very big.  I went in with no expectations, and not looking for anything in particular, which I think made it more fun.

The first thing I saw when I walked in the door was this dish, perfect for holding salt scrub in my bathroom.  And at $3 I couldn't pass it up.

I'm always looking for tablecloths, it's hard to find a round one in the colors I like.  This baby was only $7.

Oh, and that sweet capiz like picture frame, $5 and they had them in quite a few shapes and sizes.

Onto bedding.  If it were up to me, I would just throw my sheets out every week and buy new ones.  Sleeping on brand new sheets is one of my favorite things in life.  And at $40 for a queen set, I wasn't about to pass it up.

I picked up some other items, big and small.  About half way into our excursion we had to split into 2 carts.  My entire haul?  $110 with tax.  I would think if you were looking for something specific, it may be hard to find at a place like Homegoods, their stock is changing all the time.  But, if you go in like I did, with zero expectations, that's when you find the real treasures.

Are you a Homegoods shopper?  Find any great items lately?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jouer LMT

Jouer is a company that's new to me. I've seen a couple of their products in the Birchbox shop, and heard they had an exclusive BB color lip gloss awhile back. More and more people were talking about the Luminizing Moisture Tint on different makeup forums so I thought I should look into it. Ya know, for research. LMT, I would say, is along the lines of a beauty balm. It can be worn alone instead of a foundation, but isn't heavy.

Now, I don't wear foundation. I don't like to feel like I'm wearing makeup so I wasnt sure how I would feel about this. LMT comes in 6 different shades, and since I'm light/medium most of the year, but medium/dark in the summer I wasn't sure which color to go with. I emailed Jouer's customer service, and within an hour Whitney replied and offered to send me samples of the different shades, assuring me I would love it. About a week later a package came in the mail with 2 samples of each of the 3 shades i asked about, along with 2 good size samples of lip glass, and a lip enhancer, which she explained was more of a moisturizer.

  Really? I love this company already! So yesterday I'm trying to find a moisturizer in my stash with an SPF since I would be spending the day in the 97 degree heat on the back of a motorcycle and I hate putting sunscreen on my face. How is it possible that in all my products I have no moisturizer with SPF? (save for some expired befine from April BB but we won't go there). But wait, LMT is SPF 20, so it was the perfect opportunity to try it out. I opened the packet of the shade golden and emptied into my hands, slathering it on as if it were moisturizer, which you couldn't do with foundation. It went on super smooth, and only had a slight tint, but Luminizing it was. I don't have a desire to sparkle, I'm too old for that, but it had a subtle shimmer that surely would conceal any uneven skin tone or blemishes. It wasn't heavy, but I did feel like I was waring makeup, I'm also not used to it though so I'm sure it was just me. The best part?  After spending 8 hours in the sun, my face was the only thing that had no sign of a burn. That alone made it a winner in my book. Would I spend $38 on it? Probably not, only because it won't be a daily product for me. However, they offer a mini for $20 that I would absolutely buy. Once I decide which of the shades works for me I'll definitely be placing my order with Jouer.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Holy Grail of products

There aren't many products that I'm loyal to.  For the most part, I'll buy something, try it and move on.  I'm guilty of buying products before I'm done with others, and ending up with half empty bottles cluttering every available space.  I can't even tell you how many bottles of shampoo/conditioner/hair spray I have at this time.  I know, it's a sickness.  I think that everyone has their one holy grail product though, the one that you buy over and over and can't live without.  For me, that's MoroccanOil.

I've been using it a little over a year, and nothing I've found has made my hair so soft and smooth.  At $40 a bottle it isn't cheap, but a little goes a long, long way.  One bottle will easily last me a year.  I use it on both wet, and dry hair.  I've had so many people ask how I get my hair so shiny and why don't I have flyaways.  This is the answer.  Now, I'm told it's not for all hair types.  I have thick hair, and lots of it.  I had someone ask her stylist and she was told it's not for fine hair, however they do make a MoroccanOil light that can be used on fine hair.  Don't let the fact that it's an oil scare you off, it never leaves a greasy feeling, and it smells great too.  The only other MoroccanOil product I've used is the Frizz Control, and I haven't used it enough to really form an opinion of it yet.  They have an entire line of haircare, and now skincare products.  I'm interested to see if they're as great as the oil.  Anyone else use MoroccanOil?  Love it as much as I do?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Myglam is a sub that I'm not a member of.  However, since some people may not know about it, I thought I should add it to the mix.

Like Birchbox, myglam is a monthly sub.  $10/month or get a month free by paying upfront for a year for $110.  This sub is shipped in a myglam bag, so every month you get a different makeup bag.  Doesn't appeal to me, how many bags can one person need? 

While you fill out a beauty profile their website, it's stated in the FAQ's that your profile has no direct impact on what you will receive in your bag each month.

Now, I haven't gone back many months to see what has been in each bag, but to me, it just doesn't seem to hold a candle to Birchbox.  Here's what was in the May myglam bag.

2 brushes, a drug store brand Studio Gear lipstick, a perfume sample and some "nail bling".  I see the value of this bag at yep, $10.  When at the same time, I look at my Birchbox for May, where I received a full size Stila liner which is valued at $22 alone.  My BB value came in at over $50.  To me, myglam has far too many drug store brands included.  If I wanted a Freeman face mask I can pick one up at Walgreens.  However, the Algenist face cream from my BB?  That's something I would have to search out.  Add on top of that BB's points program, and in my book there's a clear winner between these two.

There's so many subs out there that this is one I just couldn't justify spending the money on, but hey they can't all be for everyone.  Want to check out myglam for yourself?  You can find it here.

(Pssst, want a free Target Summer Beauty Bag?  Get one here but hurry, they'll be gone soon!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Beauty Test Tube

There are 2 different Test Tubes, one is the QVC New Beauty Test Tube, and the other is just the New Beauty Test Tube.  There are a few differences, but for the most part it's the same type of service.  They're both quarterly, but with QVC you can skip a shipment if you're on auto renewal.  The QVC version you have to wait until it's released to get in on it, while the regular one you can sign up at any time.  For instance, if you were to sign up today, you would receive the current Tube, then the next one at the end of the current quarter.

Most of the items in the QVC Tube will be different from the regular Tube, but there may be a few of the same.  The price is about the same too, right around $39 a quarter with shipping.  Both also come with a copy of New Beauty magazine.

Unlike Birchbox, which sends out different variations of the boxes, the Test Tubes all have the same product, unless they run out of something and they substitute.  The thing that drew me to the Test Tube is that it seems to be targeting an "older" crowd.  Now, I'm 33, but since I've joined Birchbox I've received a Teen Vogue and Gossip Girl box, so by older I mean not teens/early twenties.  In my first Tube I received 3 full size products, a YBF pencil, Mally shadow stick, and the best, a MoroccanOil Frizz Control spray, which alone is $32.  All this in addition to various, serums, scrubs, lotions, and perfumes.  All large enough for multiple uses.  They also send 3 spalook "gift certificates" which are really just discounts on a purchase of a certain amount.

I do a lot of research before signing up for these subscriptions, and I was more excited about getting this one than my Birchbox.  I haven't tried all the products yet, but so far the ones that I have, I've enjoyed.  I don't know how long I'll keep this sub, it all depends on the next Tube, but I may switch to the QVC Tube in the future.

Interested in getting in on the New Beauty Test Tube?  Get it here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sample subscriptions

Birchbox, Myglam, Beauty Army, Test Tube, there seem to be more and more of these services popping up all the time.

This week I'm going to review a few of the more well known sample subscriptions. We'll start with Birchbox. Birchbox is a monthly sub, $10 a month gets you a box with 4 or 5 samples in the mail. I've been a member since March, and can honestly say there hasn't Been a month I wasn't happy. You have a choice of 2 different subscriptions, monthly, or yearly. If you decide to pay in full, it'll save you $10 at $110 for a year. Monthly, they take the $10 out on the 1st of every month, and the boxes ship around the 10th. You fill out your beauty profile, and while I don't know how much of an impact your answers have on what comes in your box, they do send out a variety of boxes every month.

  I've received everything from hair serums to tea bags, and each of my boxes has been valued at least 3 times my $10 investment. March and May were curated boxes by Teen Vogue, and Gossip Girl, with April being a "green" box for Earth month. Some claim these curated boxes have better, higher end items, but I think my regular box had items that were just as good. One of the great things about Birchbox is their rewards system. When you get your box, you log into your account to review the items in your box. Each review gets you 10 points. 100 points is equal to $10 which can be spent in the Birchbox shop on the full size goodies that come in the boxes. Every dollar you spend in the shop is worth a point, and referrals get you 50 points. It's easy to rack up the points and get free products, which in my opinion pays for the cost of the subscription. They send out anniversary coupons for 20% off any items in the shop too, which is great since cosmetics and perfume at department stores rarely go on sale, or let you use a coupon. I've had to contact customer service a few times, and they have gotten back to me quickly each time.

Being a member of Birchbox has introduced me to products I otherwise would've never tried.  I more than likely wouldn't splurge on a $90 moisturizer from Algenist, but the sample size is a quarter of the full size and will last me quite awhile.  When I found out I was getting a full size Stila liquid sparkle liner in my May box, I thought it would go up for trade immediately.  I ended up trying it and loving it!

The only downside of Birchbox that I can see? You have to get on a wait list to join. They're still a rather new company, and while they're growing, you have to wait your turn to get in on the fun. Not to worry, it can range from a couple of days to a couple of weeks wait. Watch out for that e-mail though, once you get accepted you have 24 hours to respond before they give your spot up to someone else. Love Birchox? Questions about the service? Hit me up in the comments. Ready to join already? Here's a referral link.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hang on, I'll get the sander...

Finally Friday, and I'm having one of those I just stabbed myself in the eye with my mascara mornings.  (I hope I'm not the only one who does that.)  Have you seen all the glitter nail polishes out there recently?  This was one that began to pop up all over Pinterest, Deborah Lippmann's Happy Birthday.

The first one I tried was Ulta's Pinata Yada Yada. 

It had much smaller glitter and not a lot of coverage, ok as a top coat though, like in the picture.  In my March Birchbox, I was lucky enough to get a full size Essie luxeffects glitter topcoat in A Cut Above.

Now, they say this is a topcoat, but you really can get enough coverage from it to use alone.  I decided to layer it over one of my many pink OPI's.  I loved the look, and it covered great.  It was really easy to touch up throughout the week since a manicure usually doesn't last me more than 2 days.  I really didn't have anything bad to say, until it was time to take it off.  If I would've thought about it, I would've googled a solution at the time.  I had the idea that since I used it as a topcoat, it would come off easily, since it wasn't directly bonded to my nail.  Not so much.  The OPI polish came off and I was left with lots and lots of pink glitter that did nothing but snag on the cotton pad.  I probably went through 6 or 7 cotton pads on one hand alone.  This is when my husband walked in and asked if I needed him to go out and get his power sander to get it off.  While that wasn't necessary, I was about to go across the street and ask my neighbor, who works at a local spa, if I could use her pure acetone.  Eventually it did come off, half a package of cotton pads later. 

So, would I use this as a daily polish again?  Probably not.  However it does add something extra if I have an event that calls for a little extra shimmer.  And next time, I'll google how to remove it first.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Did I really just spend $17 on a bar of soap?

If you've ever been to a LUSH shop, then more than likely, you have too. 

My first experience with LUSH was at the Macy's in Oak Brook, IL.  As soon as I walked in it was a total sensory overload.  Soaps, and bubble bars, and bath bombs, oh my!  Much to my husband's dismay, it was my perfect playground.  As I ushered him off to C.D. Peacock to look at watches, what became a lifelong love affair with a brand began.  If you're not familiar with LUSH, they boast of being fresh, handmade cosmetics.  Also they're never tested on animals.  They're big into recycling, and most of their products have an expiration date.

All of their soaps can be cut to size, and are sold by weight, so whether you need a small sliver for a week's vacation, a large chunk, or anyting in between all you have to do is ask one of the eclectic LUSH lovelies.  The products I've used have been so concentrated they last me much longer than other brands.  A bubble bar for two uses? Never, I can get at least 10.  A one time bath melt? Nope, split it into fours!

I can go on, and on about all the products I love, but half the fun is going in and trying things out for yourself.  One thing I do have to talk about though, is the samples.  Oh the samples!  Not sure what will work best for your skin?  Ask for a sample!  We're not talking little one use foil packets here, oh no!  A tub of shampoo to last a week!  A slice of soap so big you can shower for days!  I've literally left there with sample bags bigger than my shopping bag.  This isn't your snooty department store cosmetics counter where you get one tiny sample in return for spending hundreds.  The girls love to give them and will make sure you have everything you need to try their products.  This is one of the many reasons I'm so in love with LUSH.

Do you use LUSH?  What are some fave products I may be missing?

Do you Zoya?

I had never heard of Zoya until I joined Birchbox.  I pretty much never paint my finger nails, but in the summer a good pedi is a must for sandal wearing weather.  I'm really good at buying 15 OPI polishes all just about the same shade.  I haven't gotten a Zoya polish in my Birchbox, and since I didn't know where to buy it I had never tried it.  Last weekend I was at Ulta, and when I was reading the sign about the buy 2 get 1 free polishes I see Zoya listed.  Sure enough, I walk around the corner and there's a small, mostly picked over display.  There were enough let for me to pick out my 3 and be on my way.  Let me just say that nail polish is probably my least exciting beauty product, until I found these.  It was love at first coat!

I probably could've gotten away with just one coat, but went with 2 out of habit.  I've heard that some of  them are "buildable, jelly" colors, sheer with the first and darker as you go on, and they do that on purpose.  I haven't yet ordered from their site, but they do have a rewards program.  Also, they're known for sending extras with your order.  If you get on their e-mail list they sometimes send sales, like 50% off if you buy so many.  It's supposed to last 50% longer than other polish, and is free of toluene, formaldehyde, DBP and camphor.  Check it out and find your favorite!

Start of something new

Let's be honest, I know nothing about blogging.  I'm not a writer, and often trip over words, so I apologize in advance for that.  I do however love beauty products.  Hair, makeup, skincare, nail polish, it's what makes me happy.  I have a sample drawer that looks like Sephora, and am subscribed to Birchbox, New Beauty Test Tube, in addition to being an Influenster.  I'm at Ulta way too often and spend way too much time on makeup forums.  Since my husband doesn't share my love, or want to engage in conversations about the great new anti-frizz spray I got, this is where I'll come to do that.  Thanks for stopping by!